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Congratulations to Carol Coffee Reposa, just named Texas State Poet Laureate for 2018!


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Poetry Editor's Note

Carol Coffee Reposa

Writing this column, I look up from time to time to check out the redbud in my front yard. Just a few weeks back, the tree was a study in brown, its branches scarcely distinguishable from the dun grass below and the gray sky above. Today, though, lavish purple blooms cover its surface in a profusion of color as seemingly improbable as someone singing Verdi in a parking lot. And that of course is the essence of spring: positive transformation. In this season what once looked dead explodes into life. Malaise morphs into joy. It thus seems appropriate that the theme of our May issue is healing and the humanities. Within these pages readers will find poems, essays, and short stories that explore this mysterious relationship.

The adventure of Norman Cousins, editor of the legendary Saturday Review, comes to mind. In 1964, he was admitted to a New York hospital and diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an incurable and fatal spinal column illness. Resigned to his fate but determined to enjoy his last days anyway, Cousins left the hospital, bought a few comic books, rented some funny movies, and spent the next month viewing them and howling with laughter day and night. When he returned to the hospital for a second round of tests, his doctors were astounded to discover that his malady had vanished. Inexplicable as it appeared, Cousins had recovered completely—with a little help from the comedic arts. I suspect that what was true for Cousins may apply to the rest of us as well. We turn to the humanities to replenish and enrich our souls, and here in San Antonio we can see this force at work everywhere we turn: in the dozens of readings, slams, performances, and exhibits that marked our observance of National Poetry Month in April; in the Fifth Annual San Antonio Book Festival on April 8, an event which featured over 100 local, regional, and national writers; in the robust outpourings of Fiesta Week

In keeping with this spirit of renewal, we at Voices de la Luna are delighted to announce the appointment of Octavio Quintanilla as poetry editor. A member of the English faculty at Our Lady of the Lake University and a Canto Mundo Fellow, Professor Quintanilla holds a doctorate in English from the University of North Texas and serves as South Texas regional editor for Texas Books in Review. His work has appeared in journals nationwide. Of his debut poetry collection, If I Go Missing, 2012 Texas Poet Laureate Jan Seale writes, “his words are exact, telling, touching.” Octavio is certain to bring fresh vision and boundless energy to our ranks, and I step down confident that the poetry section in Voices will flourish in his capable hands.

So now, while Mother Earth pulls off her annual miracle one more time and everything becomes what e.e.cummings calls “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful,” we hope you will dive into this issue and emerge recharged and restored, as befits the merry month of May. Happy reading!

 


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A Brief History of I

Rosemary Catacalos

I begin at river’s bank in Palestine, a calloused hand tanning oxhide for sandals. Nearby, my baby daughter laughs out loud, bold pomegranate staining the circle of her mouth. Later, in Greece, I pleat stone tunics, gazing neither backward nor future bound, so radiant is that air, skin drums quivering the giant olives’ thinnest leaves, second child cradled in my body. In Tuscany, proud shows of horses, the din they make stands in for civil language, the odd graceful word still a mystery when we reach Rome… . And still today, though now itself remains a wildly deepening cloud.

 

Apothecary Jars

 

Blue Jays

Toni Heringer Falls

Collision rattles the pane. We look at each other knowing— wordlessly rise, look out on the deck. Nothing. Thank goodness. Next day I happen to see the bird under a table invisible except at a certain angle. Majestic, even in death. Feathers a regal robe of royal blue black white perfect symmetry of pattern. Each spring a pair come, raise a family bold raucous crown jewels in setting of live oak gold dust. I hold the stiff body in hand give thanks for this wondrous creature whisper a simple ceremony. Later, the mate perches on deck rail calling calling calling in to the last space she saw him fly calling out to the soft edges of the universe.

 

Detail from Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Vittore Carpaccio

 

Landscaping My Literary Lawn

Bonnie Kennedy

I will plant sonnet bushes Both English and Italian Along the front of the house, All manicured and evenly spaced, On both sides of the door, And on either side of the walk Will be alternating purple haikus And yellow cinquains, for they Are short, neat, and pretty And won’t grow out of their borders. And I think I should like A song tree or two for shade, Where birds can gather To nourish themselves on lyrics, And practice their craft. The whole backyard will be a garden With six rows of sestina And three of terza rima, And on the patio, all around Repeating pots of villanelle. I’ll have a bed of nursery rhymes Circling the swing set, And limerick vines and riddling ivy, Their puns in bloom, Can climb the fence. A blanket of green pastorals and blue idylls Will make it feel like a country picnic, And in one corner, I will let Blank and free verse Just grow wild! At the back, I’ll plant a stand of odes, Some epic, some Pindaric, And underneath, a ground cover Of elegy and epitaph, In memory of the poets gone before.

 

Elsewhere #2

Lyn Belisle

 

 


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